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Nov 28 2013

You Need A Man!

Ah Suzanne Venker!

We meet again!

Well this time she’s on Fox telling ladies how they really need a man and that not having a man is super duper bad. Now I am not saying having a boyfriend and a husband is a bad thing, I am just saying that it isn’t the philosopher’s stone and El Dorado rolled into one that people keep insisting it is.

Over the past several decades, America has witnessed a profound change in the way women view men and marriage. It began with the baby boomer adage “never depend on a man.”

I thought it was due to the release of Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding out for a Hero”. I mean not only is love a battlefield but you really do want a street wise Hercules…

This message resulted in a generation of women who turned their attention away from the home and onto the workforce. They did what their mothers told them to do: they became financially independent so they’d never have to rely on a husband.In time, “never depend on a man” turned into the full-blown belief that men are superfluous. In 2010 Jennifer Aniston claimed women needn’t “fiddle with a man” to have a child.

Because the fiddle is less important than the pianist.

Well no, single mothers can do it by themselves and especially single mothers with vast amounts of wealth and fame. Just saying that you don’t need to have a woman to have a child either and there are plenty of single parents who are excellent parents in spite of the media portraying single mums and dads as deeply sad over the lack off the right individual possessing the right gender in their child’s life.

Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you.

Oh I beg to differ (NSFW!).

The problem here is the notion that all women need regular penis in their lives or everything will fall apart. Because women are like ferrets.

This may strike you as an isolated case of stupidity, but Aniston’s willingness to put it out there speaks volumes about modern cultural attitudes. No actress would have said such a thing in the 70s, 80s, or even early 90s.

That’s because the social mores at the time would have destroyed their career because outside of actresses women were expected to stay at home and not give anyone any lip.

In India that’s called Indira Gandhi Syndrome. See Indira Gandhi demonstrated what a “woman can do”. She reached the Prime Ministership of India and managed to be a pretty good Prime Minister as a whole and was a strong and powerful person.

Yet women were still treated badly because the same men that cheered for Indira Gandhi refused to grasp that their daughters and wives could do similar things.

Fortunately, most women come to the realization that they do, in fact, need a man—at least if they want a family.

Or a woman… You know families don’t have to be just dudes you know. Sometimes a lady can love another lady and make a family out of that.

Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you. And there’s nothing empowering about being beholden to an employer when what you really want is to have a baby. That’s dependency of a different sort.

Oh don’t worry your pretty little heads about economics! You want a baby? Your Man Will Solve That Money Problem! No Worries Shiela!

Or you know? You can both have careers and recognise that the biology of gender means that mum has to stay at home for a bit to have the baby and that means a hiatus from work and that means dad has to do some heavy lifting for a bit. And that in some cases it’s easier on the wallet to be a stay at home mother than simply fork out money to child care that costs as much as you earn.

Yes, who wants the responsibility of being a full adult (and I mean that men are the full adults and women only get to pretend in Suzanne’s world). Way to demonise work. Even working in bad jobs I never really saw it as “being a slave to an employer” since I was getting paid and I made  my own work fun.

See to Suzanne, work makes you miserable. That she ignores the social pleasures you can gain from work and the sense of achievement and indeed realise and work to goals.

This is the conclusion to which most women have come. Research shows that what women want more than anything else is not to work full-time and year-round but to live balanced lives.

How will they do it? That’s the number-one conversation among women today.

‘Round and ’round we go, asking how women can gain more control over their lives. How can they spend more time with their children? How can they make time for exercise or even a social life? How can they keep their houses in order and still have time to cook? The answer is obvious.

Lean on your husband.

Yes but not in the way you are thinking of.

This means splitting housework and not following hard gender roles of “Wife in Kitchen, Husband with TV”.

According to Pew Research, “Dads are much more likely than moms to say they want to work full time. And when it comes to what they value most in a job, working fathers place more importance on having a high-paying job, while working mothers are more concerned with having a flexible schedule.”

That women prefer part-time work is simply irrefutable. It was true back in 2007, and it’s even true among Ivy League graduates! Study after study, both here and abroad (the majority of women in the UK, Spain and other countries seek some combination of paid work and family work) shows women as a whole (the Sheryl Sandbergs notwithstanding) want multifaceted lives. They want balance.

Except for all the women who have careers women don’t want to work in careers.

Gotcha.

And there’s only one way to get it: rely on a man’s more linear career goals. Unlike women, a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck. That’s how most men feel a sense of purpose. Indeed, research shows men see it as their duty to support their families even when their wives make as much money (or more) as they do!

Or you know. Split the damn housework. If I can do a “woman’s job” after I get home then surely women can do my job and then do half the job of housework if they so chose to.

Perhaps that’s because men can’t produce life the way women can—let’s face it: those are some serious shoes to fill—but they canproduce the means to make a child’s life secure. As a nation, we dismiss this integral part of masculinity. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Bollocks. Men are vital to producing life since they are 49.99% of the genome. Stupid gender roles harm women and they harm men. It’s not an integral part of masculinity to do the damn hoovering so that your wife doesn’t have so much housework so you both can hold down jobs.

So why not let husbands bring home the bulk of the bacon so women can have the balanced lives they seek? There’s no way to be a wife, a mother and a full-time employee and still create balance. But you canhave balance by depending on a husband who works full-time and year-round.

Because this system discriminates against career women and creates the same glass ceilings that kept women out of higher paid positions in careers and effectively rules them out of many STEM subjects while we keep teaching young girls that they SHOULD stay at home. That’s the difference. We don’t value them in careers because

I know what you’re going to say. Where are these husbands on whom women can depend? And you’re right: there are fewer men these days who seem eager to be primary breadwinners.

But ask yourself why, and I bet you know the answer.

Yes it’s clearly due to these women getting more financial independence.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Crimson Clupeidae

    It’s time for an Oprah Moment (TM)…..

    You get a man, and you get a man, and you get a man, and you get a man, and you get a man, and ……repeat as necessary.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Mary L

    What a load of BS. I was raised by two working parents. Their identies were not linked to their paychecks. They were who they were. Their earnings were tied to doing their jobs well, and went into one bank account. They used it to support THEMSELVES and THEIR children. They took care of OUR home. They leaned on each other because they were a married couple, EACH responsible to and for the other and THEIR family. Eventually, my mother was making more per hour than my father. He was so proud of her that he bragged about it. Then he would tease her by asking when he could become a “kept man”. My parents were mature and secure people.

  4. 4
    angharad

    Or you arrange things the way we do in the angharad household – I (a woman) work fulltime, and Mr angharad stays at home and looks after the kids. In other words, you find out what suits your particular circumstances and personalities and do that.

  5. 5
    smrnda

    Do these people ever wonder if men really *want* to work full time, or if it’s just that they feel they have to, and so to stay afloat they say “I need a full time job” the way someone in a war zone might say “I need some body armor and a kevlar vest?” I’m sure that if you asked men “If you would be financially secure, would you prefer to work part time instead of full time?” I don’t think anyone would say no, it’s just not seen as an option.

    And I work, and I also want a life outside of work not to be with a man but to have a relationship with another woman, play the accordion and put on puppet shows.

    Another issue is that the options people have open to them are heavily dependent on wealth and privilege. It’s possible for some women and some men to get the balance they want, but for a lot of people, there’s no meaningful choice, no jobs with flex time policies and too low of earnings to not work 40+hours a week.

  6. 6
    opposablethumbs

    Of course it’s utter bollocks – not to mention it belittles men and connives at their oppression (not as much as it does women, but considerably nonetheless) by insisting they’re such shallow insecure creatures they can’t cope with not necessarily being the top earner in a household, and that they are so incompetent they can’t cope with doing a fair share of housekeeping. Neither of which are true, obviously. Why shouldn’t men aspire to having a bit of balance in their lives? Why the hell not have more than one parent who gets the external validation of a paid job, and more than one parent who gets to be invested in their home and family?

    If my kids want help with maths homework or an essay they ask me; if they want advice about clothes, to know how to sort out a problem with the computer or how to cook something they love, they ask their dad. We do have some different (though extensively overlapping) skill sets, and as anyone with a grain of sense might expect they do not break down on traditional gender lines.

  7. 7
    Samsara

    “Yes it’s clearly due to these women getting more financial independence.”
    Curious.
    I read an article the other day about the history & projected future of the ’2 income nuclear family’ in the US.
    Seems it hasn’t been since 1967 that a US blue collar male could actually make enough $$$ working 1 job to support a wife, buy a modest home, support 2 kids, buy 1-2 vehicles & sock away a little for the kids’ future education.
    A 2 income family has become MUST for your average American family to achieve the ‘American Dream’ of owning a house, having kids, etc – it simply isn’t a matter of ‘financial independence’ for women.
    Now I know all the MRA zealots will say this loss of income of the average blue collar male is due to ‘feminists’ & women taking jobs previously held by men – but I’m still not seeing very many women in blue collar jobs in the US.
    (Might want to look at the shrinking manufacturing base in the US & the growth of the ‘information revolution’ in Western nations for the shift to white collar & service related jobs & the loss of blue collar income.)
    Anyhow, it’s no longer an option but a luxury for most Americans if mom/wife can ‘stay at home’ anymore.

  8. 8
    rq

    Well, considering we have kids and both work full-time and Husband does his fair share of the housework, and we’ve been getting along fine, I’ll just have to break the news that we’ve been doing it wrong…

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